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Celebrate Abilities: The Power of Exercise for Children with Cerebral Palsy

Posted on October 23rd, 2023 by Andries Lodder

By: Jana van Jaarsveld


Cerebral Palsy (CP) is a neurological condition that affects muscle control and movement, often leading to physical disabilities. Although it can be challenging and while there is no cure for CP, the benefits of exercise and physical activity for children with this condition cannot be overstated. There are tons of activities for children of different levels of CP that can help them to stay healthy and active. Engaging in appropriate and supervised physical activities can improve mobility, strength, and overall well-being for children with CP. In this article, we will explore the importance of exercise for children with Cerebral Palsy and provide practical guidance on incorporating physical activity into their daily lives.

The Benefits of Exercise for Children with Cerebral Palsy

  • Improved Mobility

This can enhance a child’s ability to move and perform daily tasks.

  • Enhanced Independence

As they get stronger, they can become more independent in activities like dressing, feeding, and personal care.

  • Better Posture and Balance

 Targeting specific muscle groups will improve posture and balance, reducing the risk of falls and injuries.

  • Increased Social Interaction

Engaging in group activities or therapy sessions can provide opportunities for socialisation and build self-confidence.

  • Emotional and Psychological Benefits

Exercise releases endorphins, which can improve mood and reduce stress and anxiety, benefiting children with CP both physically and emotionally.


Due to high stress on their little bodies they tend to age prematurely. However, exercise and physical activity can help to reduce or stop the risk for prematurely aging.

Although exercising and staying healthy are not cures for cerebral palsy, they help the child avoid injuries and reduce the impact of associated disorders and illnesses.

  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • Osteoporosis
  • Diabetes
  • Respiratory issues
  • Neurological problems

Tailoring Exercise Programs for Children with Cerebral Palsy

It’s essential to customise exercise programs to meet the individual needs of children with CP, as the severity and symptoms of the condition can vary widely. Here are some key considerations:

  1. Consult with Healthcare Professionals

Before starting any exercise program, consult with a paediatrician or physical therapist who specialises in CP to assess the child’s specific needs and limitations.

  • Variety of Activities

Incorporate a variety of activities, such as stretching, strength training, and aerobic exercises, to target different aspects of physical health.

  • Adaptive Equipment

Depending on the child’s abilities, consider using adaptive equipment like wheelchairs, orthotics, or braces to facilitate safe and effective exercise.

  • Consistency is Key

Consistent, low-intensity exercise routines are often more beneficial than occasional high-intensity workouts. Encourage daily or weekly physical activity.

  • Safety First

Always prioritize safety by ensuring that exercises are performed under supervision and in a safe environment.


Exercise and physical activity play a crucial role in enhancing the quality of life for children with Cerebral Palsy. When tailored to their individual needs and abilities, regular exercise routines can lead to improved mobility, independence, and emotional well-being.

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